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Cleaning products as bad for pollution as cars

19 February 2018

Household cleaners and other aerosols are contributing far more to pollution now that strict controls have been imposed on vehicles.

With road traffic emissions one of the main focuses of environmental scrutiny, cleaning products and similar objects are becoming responsible for a larger proportion of pollutants. 

American researchers looked at the levels of pollutants in the air in Los Angeles and discovered that industrial and household products contributed to the total level of pollution just as much as the emissions coughed out of cars.  

The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Colorado, who suggested that the amount of pollutants emitted by household and industrial cleaning products is perhaps as much as three times higher than official US estimates suggest. 

The lead author of the study, Joost de Gouw, said: “This is about all those bottles and containers in your kitchen cabinet below the sink and in the bathroom. It’s things like cleaners, personal products, paints and glues. When you think about how much of those products you use in your daily life, it doesn’t compare to how much fuel you put in the car. But for every kilogram of fuel that is burned, only about one gram ends up in the air. For these household and personal products, some compounds evaporate almost completely.”